For Labor Day weekend, I decided to plan a little picnic in Prospect Park. I already have all this gear that I usually use every year at Jazz Age Lawn Party, but that was obviously cancelled this year. I think most people are still acting fairly cautious because only one of my friends ended up coming. But we still had a great time and it was really nice to see a friend in person for once!
I’ve been very pleasantly surprised by a UK skincare company I’ve recently partnered with called Grounded Body Scrub. They make 100% all natural products that really work. Their post popular product is their coffee scrub. I highly recommend it for men (or women) who love really corse face scrubs. Men will often sometimes get dry dead skin under their beards that can feel itchy sometimes. If you like the Jack Black scrubs, you’ll love this scrub too. The caffine in the coffee grounds really wake up your face and my face felt incredibly smooth after using it for the first time.
Make sure to use the code ElegantElite during checkout to get a 25% off discount!!
Introducing the fabulous 3 in 1 hair diffuser from CIC Beauty! This universal (fits on any hair dryer) hair diffuser helps dry hair evenly and combats frizz. Use my code referral code ELEGANTELITE for 10% off. I will be doing a full video review with my friend Nina who has naturally curly later this month, stay tuned!
“There are never any mistakes in life, only happy accidents” – Bob Ross
Because of Covid-19 I’m working from home and I’m able to film again! Be sure to stay tuned to the very end for some funny bloopers.
Ulta offers its customers double purchase points when you buy something during your birthday month. So I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and get some cool items. Below is a list of the items that I got from Ulta. I highly recommend the rituals shower gel. It really makes an every day shower feel way more luxurious.
The Artis Brushes are the most premium brushes on the market currently. their main marketing point is that they work so well that you end up using less makeup and using less product overall and therefore saving money. My personal opinion is that, yes, they do help spread your makeup more evenly and you absolutely end up using less product
My boyfriend made me this gorgeous @ symbol design for my birthday. I’ve always had a thing for the @ symbol not only because my name begins with the letter ‘a’ but also because I’m a blogger and social media influencer. Also, my full-time job is as a Web Developer and I normally spend most of my day writing code.
Using a template, he carved out the symbol from wood. He then used some glitter acrylic and poured it into the center of the wood. By doing this, he added some glamor to the industrial book of the wood. It created this gorgeous effect that shimmers in the light. I absolutely love my birthday present from my boy friend.
After being stuck quarantined in my 1 bedroom apartment, I really needed some time away from the city. My parents were kind enough to lend us their house in East Hampton at the tip of Long Island. Its a cozy place that is super close to both the town and the beach. My parents have had the house since I was born, but have added an addition and some other upgrades to the house since. This is honestly one of my favorite places in the world.
I’ve struggled a lot with my mental health over the years. After struggling for a really long time in my late teens and early 20s, I’ve now been on the same prescription cocktail for several years now. My longest lasting relationship is my therapist and I would probably never leave the east coast because of her. I struggled for years trying to find “a magic pill” to make my minor problems (which seemed like huge emotional hurtles) go away. I then found Dialectic Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and I found a logical way of dealing with my illogical problems without making myself feel invalidated or “crazy.”
In times like these, when things seem so out of control and crazy, I like to fall back on some basic DBT skills to cope with all the insanity. These are very difficult times for everyone right now, but especially hard for people of color and people affected by covid-19. Using these skills may help you feel more grounded. Please read this link for more detailed information, but below is my interpretation of the essential DBT skills.
- Mindfulness is essentially living in the moment. Don’t worry about what could happen in the future, just focus on how you can help yourself in the next 5 minuets.
- Distress Tolerance
- DBT has a “Do What Works” policy for distress tolerance (obviously without harming yourself). Let it out, scream, cry, smash something! Your emotions are temporary and you will get past this.
- Interpersonal Effectiveness
- One of my favorite worksheets from this section is called “D.E.A.R. M.A.N.” and it’s about how to ask for things you need in a way that will get you what you want.
- Emotional Regulation
- This is the hardest. This skill focuses on regulating your internal emotions by learning where they come from, validating that they are a real emotion coming from a real place, and then learning to get past it and let that feeling go.
More reading on DBT:
Over the years I’ve tried lots of different skincare tools. I wanted to make a list of all the ones I’ve tried and what they did or did not do for my skin.
This tiny little steamer may seem useless at first, but trust me its a powerful device. I love how hot it gets and you can really open up your pores using this. You turn it on and hold a towel over your head to collect the steam around your face. This is an all natural way to open up your pores to cleanse thoroughly.
This isn’t the exact blackhead extractor or pore cleaner that I purchased from Amazon, however I’m sure that all the products of this type are generally the same. I hate these things. They are way too powerful to be using on your skin. My skin was bright red for days and it really doesn’t even get all the junk out of your pores in the first place.
Micro needling can sound super scary, but it’s not. You gage your own pressure and you don’t have to press hard at all. You just roll the needles over your skin after you apply an expensive face serum and you know you are going to get the most out of that product because its going deep into the skin.
I love this face brush from Touch Beauty that I got on Amazon. In my opinion it works just as well as the Clarisionic face brushes but its so much less expensive. Also this one takes batteries and won’t break as easily as a rechargeable face brush. I drop mine in the shower all the time and this one hasn’t broken yet and I got it in 2018.
I realize I make a lot of ridiculous purchases, however, this one I think takes the cake. I bought a hammock chair with this huge indoor hammock chair stand. Totally ridiculous, but also totally completely relaxing. I put the chair in my bedroom which is far away from my computer desk. I don’t want to even think about a computer when I’m in the hammock.
Once I sit in that chair at the end of the day, and the sun is exactly in the right place to engulf the entire chair in sunlight, it creates a magical experience that helps make you feel like your outside. I open my window to get a nice breeze and to hear the birds. I recently got a little wind chime bell that will help create a calming environment. All of these things put together really help me relax at the end of the day.
The best thing about having a man who is as comfortable in his own skin like my boyfriend is getting to do things like skincare Sunday with him! It always ends up being the highlight of my weekend. I often try and get him to start with the steamer, but normally I can just get him to agree to stand in the bathroom for a little while I run the shower really hot for a bit.
Then we wash our faces, normally with a cleaner that is slightly exfoliating. Jack Black or grown alchemist are his two favorites. Once that is done, I can sometimes get him to apply a blackhead peeling mask on his nose and forehead. He never seems to complain or say it hurts, but he’s probably just trying to be manly about removing it. After cleansing, we apply our sheet masks. He normally grabs some type of alcoholic drink at this point and relaxes on the couch.
I received my Olive and June nail polish kit today and so far so good. Their unique tool for applying the polish is called a “Poppy” and it’s actually extremely well designed. The Poppy makes painting your nails by yourself with your non dominant hand SO much easier!
Because I normally use gel polish, I greatly underestimated the amount of dry time I needed to not ruin my nails. But the second time around I did a better job. After a week I’ve noticed more chips on the nails that I did light coats on, like my pinkies, but where I used thicker coats looks great so far, like my thumb and middle fingers.
One of the other great things about Olive and June is that they provide instructional videos on how to do your own nails. After I watch some more videos and do my nails one more time with their polish I’ll have a better idea on what the exact wear time is for these polishes. But so far I’m impressed with the thought they put into their products.
Having had experience working from home full time, I understand how isolating it can feel and I’ve worked on coping skills to get me through times like these. Now everyone is working from home full time. Having survived most of this quarantine in a Brooklyn one bedroom apartment, I now understand the importance of having some outdoor space. The next place I get will definitely have something. Anyway, I’ve decided to make a list of ways you can decorate your home to welcome the outdoors in. Instead of one long post, I will be doing a series of posts about this topic, the first decorating idea is adding some indoor plants to your home.
1) Indoor Plants
I tried having real live plants once, but not only did my cat eat the plant (then proceeded to puke everywhere), but it also got some type of mite bug infestation that made me throw it out because it was super gross and I had no experience taking care of plants. I know that sounds terrible but it was probably going to die anyway, and someone ended up taking the plant from my hallway when I put it out. Ended up being the best thing for the plant.
The right plants can improve your indoor air quality. They can also improve your mood. I have a couple of fake plastic plants around my apartment now to bring some color into my life. Even if the plants you have are fake, make sure that some or most of them are green. We associate green with nature and it can have a calming effect. “Green is thought to relieve stress and help heal. Those who have a green work environment experience fewer stomachaches. Green’s calming effects may be due to its associations with nature, which people often feel is relaxing and refreshing.” [Very Well Mind, Green in Color Psychology]
A rosey day dress with sparkly sandals.
After a crazy couple of weeks, a little regularity is a good thing! It made me really happy when my FabFitFun Summer 2020 box came, on time, as usual. I really enjoyed being surprised with awesome goodies and products I can use for self care Sundays, which let’s be honest is every day these days.
The total value of the items listed below is $421. All these items came with my FabFitFun subscription Summer 2020 box. The list starts with Winky Lux Uni-Brow Universal Eyebrow Pencil, Cali Cosmetics Foot Cream w/ Menthol in Tarocco, and Spongellé Coconut Verbena Hand Cream.
Pottery Barn Mason Diffuser in Solstice: “Ceramic vessel with rattan reeds Layered notes of bergamot, geranium, and vetiver in reeds Grounded in earthy patchouli for the perfect summer scent.”
HydroPeptide® Moisture Reset Face Oil: “Made with pure plant oils and rice bran extract, this blend nourishes the skin’s lipid barrier.”
Drybar Prep Rally Prime & Prep Detangler: “This lightweight detangler uses biotin, vitamins B and C, and sea berry oil to protect hair against heat (up to 450 F) and leave hair soft and conditioned.”
Terre Mere Aloe and Tea Toner: “Aloe smoothes and hydrates your skin while tea tree oil cleanses and heals, removing bacteria and free radicals. The added willow bark provides healing and anti-aging properties for firm and glowing skin.”
The Lyfestyle Co Beach Mist After Sun Spray: “Soothing Aloe combines with a cooling combination of Mint and Lavender helps moisture and hydrate the sun drenched skin.”
Kate Somerville® Goat Milk Moisturizing Cream: “Infused with goat milk, jojoba, and avocado, this gentle formula instantly absorbs into the skin for a healthy glow.”
It’s been a crazy couple of weeks so far. I’ve been muted on my social media for the black lives matter protests. The voice of people who look like me have been heard for so long, I wanted to take the time and let others speak and be heard.
Today was the first real beach day on Long Island. It was around the high 50s and it was nice and warm when sitting in direct sunlight. Matt and I started up the old Jeep and drove to the beach for a walk on the beach. There were police there making sure that people were properly social distancing, and had the proper beach stickers.
Matt made us frozen strawberry daiquiris and we sat in the backyard to drink them.
So after several days in sweatpants and hoodies, I had enough! It’s friday, and I need to figure out a way to make it feel like the weekend, even though all these days are blending together like a fruit smoothie. After taking a hot shower, I put on these wide leg pants (yes, they where still stretchy) and a short, almost cropped, striped shirt. then I went all out on my hair and makeup just to make me feel special.
My boyfriend and I then put on #coach lands streaming on Twitch. We shut off the lights and turned up the volume on the great stereo system that is in the house we are staying in during this pandemic. After a couple of drinks and several hours of shuffle dancing, we felt like we were at a concert.
This speaker is load and powerful enough to create a concert-like “main-stage”
experience. We are planning on testing it next week.
Good afternoon everyone who is quarantined. I’d like to cheer you up by reminding you that you are not alone. We are in this together, and we will make it through. Also remember that just because your stuck inside doesn’t mean you are without nature. Think about buying a plant if you are inside your apartment or starting a garden if you own a home. I decided to go out to the Hamptons because I have a backyard out here and I don’t have any outdoor space in my Brooklyn apartment. This is my view this afternoon.
I’ve escaped NYC to head out to Long Island, where there are still lots of sick people, but this way I can be quarantined with my boyfriend and out of a hot spot in Brooklyn near lots of corona cases. My parents are staying put on the Upper West Side where the number of cases are smaller but there is already a person who tested positive in their building.
Because I have psoriasis and take an immune suppressant called Stelara, so I have to be extra careful and cannot get sick. I also have asthma and a history of bad upper respiratory infections. Corona for me would not be “just another flu,” getting sick is actually a matter of life and death for me.
It shocking to me that people are still not taking social distancing seriously. One of the reasons I left the city is because when I would go running in prospect park I saw lots of people out exercising, taking pictures, playing with their kids, or even just trying to pass the time while either working from home or not working at all. “Its no big deal”, “Its just the flu”, you say … or you’re thinking “I won’t actually get ‘sick’ sick”. This is type of thinking is what will kill me, my parents, and even maybe your parents. #stayinghomesaveslives
I’ve had to stop taking my skin medication Stelara to enhance my immune system. Before starting Stelara I had flaky, itchy plaques of psoriasis all over my body. I even had pustule psoriasis on the palms of my hands which was a negative side effect of another medication I used to take called Enbrel. Since starting Stelara over 5 years ago, I barely have skin breakouts anymore. However, now that I’ve had to stop taking my medication, my skin is seriously suffering.
I’ve purchased a narrow band UVB therapy light, and I have steroid topical creams I can use, but I can’t take my medication until this pandemic is over. If we all collectively do what we are supposed to flatten the curve, we can all go back to normal soon. Don’t think that you’re stuck at home, you’re actually safe at home. Stay healthy, and stay home!
New York City has been hit hard by the covid-19 virus and New Yorkers are held up in their apartments working from home. My friends and I have been coping by doing weekly video chats with each other. Hopefully this will help us all stay sane. We are all trying our best to reduce the curve and practice social distancing until this all blows over, but you also have to do what’s best for your mental health. I have been doing solo runs in Prospect Park and spending some time on my rooftop for some sun exposure, but I have been very careful to avoid contact with people.